Deidre Duffy woke her husband at 3 a.m. Tuesday, October 30. He was prepared for damage from wind and rain. Not for what his wife was about to tell him.
"Breezy Point," she said, "is on fire."
As floodwaters smashed into the neighborhood, transformers blew and power lines snapped. Fanned by high winds, the flames engulfed the wooden homes like kindling.
At first, authorities reported 40 homes were gone. But with daybreak came the news that more than 100 had burned to the ground.
It would mark one of the worst residential fires in New York City history.
On Tuesday, the Duffys made their way to 164 Ocean Avenue. Their home was in ashes.
Tom Duffy isn't sure yet if the family will rebuild, but he is certain of one thing about Breezy Point: "It will never be the same."
Reuniting with Emma
Luz Martinez's sister is a New York cop. Tuesday morning, she knew which streets and bridges were open. She sent her boyfriend to fetch Luz on Roosevelt Island and take her to Emma's side.
The ride, usually 40 minutes, took 20. No one was on the road.
At Mount Sinai, Martinez found Emma in the neonatal unit. "She gave me so much peace of mind, just looking at her, sleeping like nothing had happened. She wasn't aware of what was going on."
The hospital's CEO, Kenneth Davis, was making the rounds. He was the one who had agreed to take Emma and other NYU patients into his hospital. He walked into the room, arms outstretched.
"You need a hug," he said.
Martinez began crying and thanked him.
Emma was less than a month old and yet she'd already been through so much. Her mother has given her a nickname.